Russia, FBI, United States discussed on The World


This is the world where a co production of the BBC World Service PRI and w h here in Boston. The FBI does many things and one of them is to investigate war crimes. Not just here in the US. But around the globe, our partner program reveal from the center for investigative reporting has learned that the bureau has decided to dissolve that program. Aaron glance is a senior reporter who broke that story. He says the people working in the FBI's war crimes unit are doing important work there. The kind of FBI agents, you might see in movies people who tracked down Liberian warlords living in Philadelphia quiet life in their old age and put the cuffs on them. They're the type of FBI agents who tracked down the Americans who join ISIS and bring them to Justice or the agents who investigate American military contractors working overseas who massacre innocent civilians and put them in the dark. That is the unit of the FBI that we learned is being dismantled, right? In those cases, you cited like the Liberian warlord living in Philadelphia. Those are actual cases that they've cracked yet last year. One of these men Thomas were wage, you he was living a quiet life in Philadelphia. But back in Liberia where he was a warlord witnesses who testified at his trial in Philly said that his men heard civilians checkpoints decorated with severed heads and strings of human intestines. These are the kinds of people that can just live amongst us. If nobody is looking so the FBI's international human rights unit was created icy ten years ago during the Obama administration who was behind its creation, and how is its history connected to the war crimes of World War Two. There have been parts of the FBI that have been looking into war criminals living in the US and around the world ever since World War Two it began with the Nazi hunting. But in two thousand nine congress passed a law. Creating the special unit with the idea first of all that there should be people whose job it is always to look for a war criminals both here in the US and around the world where the US citizen is either the perpetrator or the victim. The other important thing about the special unit as it was created by congress was that there's kind of a command center for different parts of the federal government that all have a stake in bringing war criminals to Justice, the State Department the Justice department ice, but the FBI role is still really keyed because immigrant communities are not likely to go to ace and report someone I mean, these communities are afraid of the immigration police. And so having another part of the federal government that is not connected to ice that you can also go to to report a war criminal in your midst is really important. So who is behind the decision to shut down this FBI unit. And why what's the rationale, you know? It's not really. Clear I found about this from a source when I went to the FBI head office. They gave me a statement that basically said even though we're limiting this office. Technically war crimes prosecutions will go on like nothing ever happened. But then when I talked to sources, they say that they're very worried, and they're already seen indications that agents are going to be reassigned to other work. What is lost in the long term? When this program is shuttered. What we're going to see is that there is going to be no dedicated part of the federal government to bringing this whole suite of war, criminals to Justice think about the murder of the American journalist Marie Colvin who was killed in an airstrike in Syria in two thousand twelve the center for Justice and accountability. Which is a human rights nonprofit based in San Francisco went to federal court and last month, they want a three hundred million dollar judgment against the Syrian Republic for a targeted killing of an. An American journalist doing her job in a media center that is a war crime. That is exactly the kind of case that this FBI unit would try to bring as a criminal case against the Syrian officials who perpetrated the crime, and you might say, well, what's the point of that those Syrian officials are living in Syria. Anyway, it's really important that we have this long arm of Justice, these Syrian officials can't at some point come to the United States and give lectures, or maybe the government of Sierra could change at some point in. There might be an opportunity to bring these individuals to Justice the people in the US government who would be charged with bringing that case they wouldn't exist anymore Aaron glance with the scoop on the closing of the FBI's international human rights unit errands, a senior reporter for our partner program reveal from the center for investigative reporting. Aaron thank you very much. Thank you. In china? They've got the so-called great firewall. It's a combination of policy people and technologies that severely limit. What people in China can see or say on the internet now Russia appears to be moving in a similar direction to create what some people are calling an internet iron curtain reporter, Charles Maine's has been following this from Moscow. So we're hearing that rush plans to take some pretty drastic steps when it comes to the internet like cutting itself off from it entirely. Is that for real, what's what's happening? Well, first of all you have to keep in mind Marco that in recent years, really since twenty eleven brushes past a slew of internet laws, which critics say a repressive nature. And now we have this new law. This is introduced into the Russian parliament known as the Duma this week, and it's passed if are just one of three readings, but it's designed to defend Russia's internet sovereignty and essentially the law calls for kill switch to the internet. Something youth. Authorities have been discussing for some time here behind the scenes, but essentially the big test is scheduled for sometime before April first the idea is to cut Russia's internet completely often the external World Wide Web and Seattle goats. And so what's the rationale behind this law behind the whole move? Lawmakers will say this is reaction to the United States primarily this is about the NSA and their doctrine on offensive cyber warfare. And they say that Russia needs to protect itself in the US allowing users to continue using an internal Russian internet, but safe from these attacks by the NSA now surprised critics of this Bill aren't convinced a case in point. I wanna introduce you to leave. Volkhov? He's the founder of the internet protection society in Russia and get your beat gun ready. Okay. The the first version of the story that like NFC would got us over the internet was supposed to simply I should probably mention that Volkov is also member of the opposition. So criticizing the authorities. If something comes quite naturally to him. I mean, the NSA said in a report along with the FBI and CIA that Russia tried to interfere with US elections is this some kind of retaliation. Well, that's part of the context of this. Keep in mind that Russia has always denied interfering in these cyber intrusions in the US elections, for example, but they are certainly aware of what they see as anti Russian hysteria coming out of Washington coming out of the US in the form of sanctions, and they are concerned about any kind of offensive attack against Russia's in critical infrastructure online by the NSA at this point. So earlier I frame this is kind of Russia's version of China's so-called great firewall. I is that the case, and how feasible would that even be to kind of duplicate what China's done will if it works. Yes. The question is will it work efforts to control the internet and countries like China, they benefit from a limited number of internet. Chokepoints the fewer essentially incoming cables there are the easier. The web is to control but Russia you they've had a thriving internet industry for years now. And so they have over nine hundred chokepoints how effectively is the question can a thirties put blockers in place. On the track record of outmanoeuvring. The tech industry isn't great either consider efforts to block the telegram messaging app. This happened last year. I remember we talked about this, and it just failed completely telegram still works today. I have it on my phone. It sounds like if the test goes through, and this becomes kind of a standard thing in Russia could be potentially disruptive for many Russians. How are they reacting was unsurprising it's pretty mixed. Certainly there are those who buy the argument that Russia should protect itself, but on social media most attitudes are negative towards this law. Take Anton Newton he's a columnist for the Petersberg Dila. Void daily. It's an online newspaper out of Saint Petersburg. He at the. Eamon? Westbound sound bites. So he says the cutting off Russia's internet from the rest of the world would be catastrophic. I mean, they risk losing out in falling behind in history. And he says that this law that claims to want to protect Russia's digital sovereignty. Actually, just weakens it in that way. Have you heard any concern that this law is really about control over what people see no, absolutely? The opposition figures will say this is about monitoring them and controlling their access to their supporters to take for example. Alexei navalny that this is the opposition leader here in Russia. His whole campaign his outreach to supporters is fueled by the internet. He's he's completely banned from television, this guy Leonid Volkov that we heard from earlier, you know, he did point out. However that these laws which they are fundamentally against in a way, they're so ham-fisted that they make the job of the opposition easier because in trying to control the internet, the Kremlin, essentially alienates younger Russians, it drives them away and to the opposition given what we know about Russia and Putin should any of this surprises. Well, I think there's a moment. Essentially when you look back to the twenty eleven protest movement here in Moscow and across Russia, but primarily here in Moscow. The internet was the organizing platform for everything. And that was the moment that Russia really the Russian authorities. Really woke up to the idea of the internet is as being something dangerous to the authorities, and they became very interested in social media in Facebook and other platforms as a way to organize and it's from there that we see these crackdown with new laws introduced to control the internet. And it's also where we see the birth of real online trolling the world's Charles Maine's and Moscow people in France or learning about online trolling the hard way a scandal is playing out there. And some of the culprits involved are not whom you might expect the world's Lucy. Montereau CNN has that story. There are rumors and Paris about this for years. This mysterious group that harass people online. The league. I didn't know this this name until this weekend Kansas sedan, allowing is a well known French fashion blogger she didn't know she was a target of legal until now that's LL in English. You laugh out loud. It was a private Facebook group made up of French journalists mostly they were behind the wave of online insults and harassment aimed at winning and anyone else not light or straight. They weren't journalist. And I was just a blogger. And they're like, okay. So she the blogger, and she she talks about fashion, Judy. So she has she has nothing. She's nuts intelligensia. So should be. I feel like this. Sedans been online since two thousand eight she's all over social media with tens of thousands.

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